Manager: Janne Andersson
Other teams in group: Germany, Mexico, Korea Republic
Sweden bring a well organised side to the World Cup in Russia. The side who now play a straight forward 4-4-2 formation became formidable during their qualification campaign. This will be the first time since 2000 that Zlatan Ibrahimovi? will not feature for Sweden in a major tournament with eyes now focused on some of the newer additions to the squad. The only big weakness Sweden have is their forward line, Marcus Berg has become the main goalscorer for his nation but now plays football for Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates and may not meet the standard asked of him.
The squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Robin Olsen (Copenhagen), Karl-Johan Johnsson (Guingamp), Kristoffer Nordfeldt (Swansea).
Defenders: Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Andreas Granqvist (Krasnador), Martin Olsson (Swansea), Ludwig Augustinsson (Werder Bremen), Filip Helander (Bologna), Emil Krafth (Bologna), Pontus Jansson (Leeds United).
Midfielders: Sebastian Larsson (Hull), Albin Ekdal (Hamburg), Emil Forsberg (RB Leipzig), Gustav Svensson (Seattle Sounders), Oscar Hiljemark (Genoa), Viktor Claesson (Krasnador), Marcus Rohden (Crotone), Jimmy Durmaz (Toulouse).
Forwards: Marcus Berg (Al Ain), John Guidetti (Alaves), Ola Toivonen (Toulouse), Isaac Kiese Thelin (Waasland-Beveren).
HOW THEY GOT HERE
Sweden qualified for Russia via the play off stages having finished second in their group. They managed six wins, a draw and three losses during qualification and as a result, they tied with the Netherlands on points but went through on goal difference. They would go on to play Italy in the playoff round to qualify for Russia played over two legs. Sweden managed to win the first leg 1-0 over Italy at home before a 0-0 draw at the San Siro qualified them for the World cup.
KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
The 31 year old is now a prolific striker who managed 8 goals during qualification making him the joint 5th highest goalscorer in the European region. As mentioned previously Sweden’s attacking options have diminished since Ibrahimovi? left the team and with Berg playing in a minnow league his 8 goals in qualifying may not be enough for his side in Russia. Berg made his international debut in 2008 and has since made 53 caps scoring 18 goals.
Sweden’s main attacking threat Forsberg is their key man going into the World Cup. Forsberg is a third generation footballer as his grandfather and father were both professional footballers but Forsberg has certainly performed better than his previous generations. Forsberg managed 3 goals during qualification and is one of Sweden’s most unpredictable players. The 26 year old is a relatively new face to the Sweden side making his debut in 2014 and has made 34 caps scoring 6 goals to date.
Sweden’s captain, leader and the only player to win Swedish footballer of the year apart from Zlatan Ibrahimovi? since 2006. The centre back has earned praise for his performances during Sweden’s World Cup qualification bid with some quality performances coming along the way including the playoff against Italy. Granqvist has improved dramatically since playing for Wigan back in 2007 where he struggled but since has developed into Sweden’s best defender. Granqvist has featured for Sweden since 2006 and has managed 71 appearances scoring 6 goals.
WHERE THEY ARE PLAYING AND STAYING
18/06: Sweden V Korea Republic, Nizhny Novgorod Stadium Nizhny Novgorod
23/06: Germany V Sweden , Fisht Stadium Sochi
27/06: Mexico v Sweden, Ekaterinburg Arena, Ekaterinburg
Sweden will be staying at the Grand Hotel Kempinski on the Black Sea waterfront. The hotel has 379 rooms and suites with roomy balconies and views of the mountains, and the scenic Gelendjik Harbour. At the 3000 square-meter spa centre, guests are offered two outdoor swimming pools and one indoor pool and a gym. The Swedes will train at Spartak Stadium nearby. Their base is 24 hours from Nizhny Novgorod, 6 hours from Sochi and 36 hours from Ekaterinburg.
THREE INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE TEAM
Sweden are one of two nations in this year’s World Cup who feature no home grown players in their final 23 man squad. Senegal and Sweden also have no home grown league players in their squads for Russia.
Sweden have failed to feature in a World Cup since 2006, failing to qualify for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. Their best result in a World Cup came back in 1958 where they were runners up as they hosted that years tournament. Since 1884 Sweden have had average performances at the World Cup, playing in 2 World Cups going out in the Round of 16 while failing to qualify for 3 of them.
Sweden have the 14th oldest team going into this Summers World Cup and have the second oldest in their group behind Mexico. Their oldest player in the squad is 33 years old while the youngest is 23. The average age of the squad is 28.2 years of age.
THEIR RECENT FORM
Sweden have had an average run of form in their last 10 games, winning 3 games, suffering 3 losses and drawing 4 times. Winless in 4 games with 2 scoreless draws against Denmark and Peru, they also have suffered two defeats over Romina (1-0) and Chille (2-1). There last win came back in January against Denmark (1-0) before that their last win came in November 2017 where they beat Italy 1-0 in their first leg playoff tie.
First game: The Swedes play Korea Republic in their opening Group F fixture on 18th June in Nizhny Novgorod Stadium Nizhny Novgorod.